John Gordon-Kirkby RM 132421, a former Royal Marine, recently sent us a scan of his small (20 cm x 13 cm) 1957 painting of the Grand Harbour with HMS Surprise at her moorings which he wanted to share with the Maltese community. He made this painting from the quarter-deck of HMS Birmingham. At that time he was a 21-year-old National Serviceman in HM Royal Marines on HMS Birmingham then Mediterranean Fleet Flagship. He served in Malta in 1957-58.
The painting was done on plain typewriter paper. He entered the painting in a competition run by the RM Globe and Laurel Magazine. He posted the original painting, duly protected. However, it was rejected and returned to him, folded in a small brown OHMS envelope. The creases are visible in the scanned image.
Mr Gordon-Kirkby, who resides in Victoria, still paints to this day, purely as a hobby. Some of his paintings are in private and public collections.
Mr Gordon-Kirkby says that he retains happy memories of his time on historic Malta, amongst them, being detailed to be a judge of the Dairy Cow section at the Royal Malta Agricultural Society Show – an adventure in itself, as the judge had to go to view and inspect the cows in their tiny and sometimes remote stalls on the island of Gozo. Logistics prevented cows from being displayed at the Showgrounds!
Mr Gordon-Kirkby has a remote family connection with Malta in that one of his aunts is buried on the island.